‘And how are you expecting to get that cake there?’ my mother asked as she lay stretched along her che-lounge, glass of Riesling in one hand, wasabi pea in the other…yes, it was another typical Sunday morning in the Sanz household.
‘I’m just going to catch the train’ I replied.
‘Ok, fine but how’s the going to work out for you? Catching…’ she struggled to pick up another wasabi pea ‘…the train, they still call them trains right?’
‘Yes mum, they still call them trains, it’s great cause horse and cart was just so, well it screamed I’m a member of the proletariat and you know how embarrassing that can be.’
‘I know what you’re doing Lou, and it’s not going to work, you can’t put your middle class guilt onto me, I took a horse and carriage to school and you know why Lou..’
‘I know why mum’
‘Don’t interrupt me!’ she finished off her second glass.
‘- cause I’m the daughter of a dairy farmer Lou, a dairy farmer – D-I-A-R-Y – farmer!’
‘You just spelt diary’
‘Oh that’s right mock me with your private school education’
‘You sent me to private school!’
‘Yes, and look at the result, a daughter who thinks she’s going to be OK taking an ice-cream cake on a train of all things and it’s not going to melt, oh how proud your father and I are’..she turned to my father who had been stealthy ignoring us ‘quick Michael, get the camera lets capture this moment’
‘I know you’re mocking me’ I shot back at my mother
‘Oooh look at you learning things…’ she scolded back, pouring herself another wine and polishing off the last of the peas.
The problem my mother was having was that I’d bought my friend an ice-cream cake and given the steering wheel had recently fallen off my 30 year old babe-pulling-Holden (copper chrome on the outside, copper chrome velour on the inside, complete with KMart installed roof-racks) and as such it had been decided that it best I not drive it – and who said my private school education went to waste, I mean surely that was a clear display of my decision making skills…
My mother and I always fought over the pettiest things – like her decision to go ahead with the birth of my sister…
‘I’m not taking advice from an 8 year-old!’ my mother spat at me as she pulled the Volvo into the Safeway parking lot back in 1987.
‘I just really don’t think a woman of your age, what are you now? Like 34…35?…should be having another child, I mean surely I’m enough’ she glared at me…’I mean wouldn’t you prefer to stay hard-to-open and not end up like those new easy to squeeze fad sauce bottles?’
…looking back objectively I’m amazed my mother even cracked a window for me as she left me in the car to go and have lunch with her mother’s group that day.
Then there was the time I started experimenting with foundation…
‘You look orange.’ (this was in the days before most companies in Australia came out with colours for girls that weren’t typically white)
‘…and anyway I can still see your pimples…all of them.’ She remarked as she made no attempt to pre-treat stains as she loaded up the washing machine.
‘It’s the closest colour I could get to match my skin.’
‘Well I reckon you’d still just be better off covering your face with shoe polish, might offend fewer people.’
And yet somehow, through all the trauma with my mother I still years later found myself standing opposite her brandishing a melting ice cream cake in one hand and a broken Riesling bottle in the other and rather than run away from me in attempt to save her life she merely picked up the remote to the television, poured herself another glass of wine and turned to me…’best you get going Lou unless of course you plan on letting that ice cream melt all over you and end up having some teenage emo lick it off you on the train…’
I glared at her as I grabbed my house keys.
‘…just make sure he’s gentle with you…I want my little girl back in one piece…love you Lou.’